Essay on Response to Judith Jarvis Thomson's A Defense for Abortion

Essay on Response to Judith Jarvis Thomson's A Defense for Abortion

Length: 4806 words (13.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Response to Judith Jarvis Thomson's A Defense for Abortion


Judith Jarvis Thomson, in "A Defense of Abortion", argues that even if we grant that fetuses have a fundamental right to life, in many cases the rights of the mother override the rights of a fetus. For the sake of argument, Thomson grants the initial contention that the fetus has a right to life at the moment of conception. However, Thomson explains, it is not self-evident that the fetus's right to life will always outweigh the mother's right to determine what goes on in her body. Thomson also contends that just because a woman voluntarily had intercourse, it does not follow that the fetus acquires special rights against the mother. Therefore, abortion is permissible even if the mother knows the risks of having sex. She makes her points with the following illustration. Imagine that you wake up one morning and find that you have been kidnapped, taken to a hospital, and a famous violist has been attached to your circulatory system. You are told that the violinist was ill and you were selected to be the host, in which the violinist will recover in nine months, but will die if disconnected from you before then. Clearly, Thomson argues, you are not morally required to continue being the host. In her essay she answers the question: what is the standard one has to have in order to be granted a right to life? She reflects on two prospects whether the right to life is being given the bare minimum to sustain life or ir the right to life is merely the right not to be killed. Thomson states that if the violinist has more of a right to life then you do, then someone should make you stay hooked up to the violinist with no exceptions. If not, then you should be free to go at a...


... middle of paper ...


...ofeminists and pacifist feminists take to be characteristically masculine; it shows a willingness to use violence in order to take control. The fetus is destroyed by being pulled apart by suction, cut in pieces, or poisoned." Wolf-Devine goes on to point out that "in terms of social thought . . . it is the masculine models which are most frequently employed in thinking about abortion. If masculine thought is naturally hierarchical and oriented toward power and control, then the interests of the fetus (who has no power) would naturally be suppressed in favor of the interests of the mother. But to the extent that feminist social thought is egalitarian, the question must be raised of why the mother's interests should prevail over the child's . . . . Feminist thought about abortion has . . . been deeply pervaded by the individualism which they so ardently criticize."32

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay about A Defense Of Abortion By Judith Thomson

- In her essay, “A Defense of Abortion”, Judith Thomson argues that abortion is morally permissible in most cases even when the fetus is considered a person. She does this by claiming that the right to bodily autonomy supersedes the right to life in almost every case and that the intention of the mother is important in defining when an abortion is permissible. Through multiple thought experiments she shows that the Western perspective often places more importance on the right to autonomy than the right to life even though it is claimed otherwise, and that if a mother does not intend to become pregnant she is not morally obligated to carry the fetus to term in most cases....   [tags: Morality, Abortion, Pregnancy, Human]

Powerful Essays
1135 words (3.2 pages)

Essay on A Defense Of Abortion By Judith Jarvis Thompson

- Responsibility to the Unborn In “A Defense of Abortion,” Judith Jarvis Thompson argues that abortion is not always impermissible. Thompson begins her argument by pointing out that the debate over abortion often falls on whether the fetus is a person or not. It seems if we had the answer to this then the answer to if abortion was permissible would be simple. Since this is not the case however, Thompson states that for the sake of argument, the fetus is a person, and challenges that there are still circumstances in which abortion can be justified....   [tags: Pregnancy, Abortion, Abortion debate, Fetus]

Powerful Essays
1355 words (3.9 pages)

A Defense Of Abortion By Judith Jarvis Thomson Essay

- Take-home Exam |Question 2| Judith Jarvis Thomson, a 20th century philosopher, offers her argument defending abortion in her paper, “A Defense of Abortion”. She states initially that the fetus has a right to life, although contrary to her argument, she uses it as a premise to develop her thoughts. In short, Thomson says that the fetus’s right to life does not outweigh the woman’s right to control her body. She forces readers to participate in a thought experiment as she gives an odd example about a violinist suffering from kidney failure....   [tags: Capital punishment, Murder, Paraphilia, Death row]

Powerful Essays
1468 words (4.2 pages)

A Defense Of Abortion By Judith Jarvis Thomson And Don Marquis Essay

- Is an egg chicken or an egg. How many of you had asked this question when you were little. I think a fetus works the same, so when it comes to morality of abortion, many saying ‘no’ and many saying ‘case by case’. In my paper, I will try to explain Aristotle’s response based on his ethics to the arguments advanced on abortion by Judith Jarvis Thomson and Don Marquis in their essays, “A Defense of Abortion” and “An Argument that Abortion Is Wrong,” respectively. In Thomson’s article, “A Defense of Abortion,” Thomson argues that abortion is not impermis-sible because she agrees with the fact that fetus has already become a human person well before birth, from the moment of conception (Thomson...   [tags: Human, Ethics, Morality, Religion]

Powerful Essays
1032 words (2.9 pages)

Essay on A Defense of Abortion by Judith Jarvis Thomson

- 'A Defense of Abortion' by Judith Jarvis Thomson In the article 'A Defense of Abortion' Judith Jarvis Thomson argues that abortion is morally permissible even if the fetus is considered a person. In this paper I will give a fairly detailed description of Thomson main arguments for abortion. In particular I will take a close look at her famous 'violinist' argument. Following will be objections to the argumentative story focused on the reasoning that one person's right to life outweighs another person's right to autonomy....   [tags: Defense Abortion Articles Essays Thomason ]

Powerful Essays
1081 words (3.1 pages)

Essay about A Defense Of Abortion By Judith Jarvis

- also on its environment where it will develop until birth, the mother’s womb.A woman is lending her body as an environment of growth. Some argue that the decision of whether this fetus should be carried to term or not lies in the decision of the woman carrying the fetus. The term pro-choice suggests that the choice of pregnancy and eventually birth of a child is simply that, a choice. The choice in this case, lies in the hands of the woman, since it is her body that is being subject to the most change....   [tags: Abortion, Pregnancy, Human rights]

Powerful Essays
1018 words (2.9 pages)

A Defense Of Abortion By Judith Jarvis Essay example

- Is a pregnant woman always responsible for the fetus that lives inside her. In “A Defense of Abortion”, Judith Jarvis Thomson adopts the position that “the fetus is a person from the moment of conception” (212) for her argument. A person has the right to life, which leads some to believe that abortion can never be a morally permissible act. However, a woman, even in pregnancy, reserves a considerable amount of liberty over her body. Thomson uses the analogy of comparing sperm to seeds as a way to examine the ethics of abortion and the responsibility of a pregnant woman to the fetus inside of her....   [tags: Abortion, Pregnancy, Birth control]

Powerful Essays
1149 words (3.3 pages)

A Critique of Judith Thomson’s A Defense of Abortion Essays

- In A Defense of Abortion (Cahn and Markie), Judith Thomson presents an argument that abortion can be morally permissible even if the fetus is considered to be a person. Her primary reason for presenting an argument of this nature is that the abortion argument at the time had effectively come to a standstill. The typical anti-abortion argument was based on the idea that a fetus is a person and since killing a person is wrong, abortion is wrong. The pro-abortion adopts the opposite view: namely, that a fetus is not a person and is thus not entitled to the rights of people and so killing it couldn’t possibly be wrong....   [tags: Aborrtion]

Powerful Essays
1883 words (5.4 pages)

The Abortion Debate Essay

- The Abortion Debate There are few issues that can cause as many heated and sometimes, irrational, debates than that of abortion. The issue strikes at the very heart of an individual's religious and philosophical beliefs. Does a woman have the right to terminate a pregnancy. Is it moral to do so in any circumstance. Is a fetus a living human being. The debate has raged for nearly thirty years and there does not seem to be any end to the controversy that often results in violence. Irrational individuals who have committed murder want to make their beliefs heard and followed....   [tags: Papers]

Powerful Essays
1024 words (2.9 pages)

Essay Abortion

- Abortion has been one of the topics of hot debate for the last three decades in our nation. Since the Roe v/s Wade decision in 1973, some Americans feel the need to ponder whether aborting fetuses is a moral action. On the one hand, some people feel that abortion should be legal because a woman has a right to choose whether she wants to continue a pregnancy or not. It's her body. On the other hand, some feel that fetuses have no advocates and deserve a right to live, so it is immoral to abandon their rights and kill them....   [tags: essays research papers]

Powerful Essays
1148 words (3.3 pages)